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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

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sciences, applied sciences, literature and the fine arts, two or
more of which will be taken by more advanced pupils, (d) Nine
Lycees in different parts of France, with similar courses to the
Institutes, but more highly specialized and differentiated, to
meet the needs of older students, (e) The National Society of
the Sciences and Arts, with its headquarters in Paris and drawing
its members from all over the country—an institution for research
and not for teaching, but having supervision of the whole
educational system. In the mere framework of the scheme there
is, of course, little that is novel except in the grant of super-
visory powers to a non-teaching National Society. Condorcet's
originality showed itself rather in the proposals he made for the
working of it. Science and its practical applications put in the
forefront of the curricula of schools and colleges, education at all
stages made gratuitous and brought within the reach of everyone
with the necessary capacity, the same education for the two sexes,
special provision for the instruction of adults of every degree of
intelligence: these ideas were all in his plan. But even more
striking—and still as Utopian as his other ideas seemed at the
time he propounded them—was the idea of making teaching
virtually a self-governing profession, by allowing each grade to
appoint the members, and direct the work, of the grade below it.
His object was to ensure freedom of thought and the unhampered
progress of science by keeping education independent of any
political authority save in the last resort the authority of the State
itself. It was an ingenious attempt at the solution of one of the
most difficult problems of democratic education.


On a superficial view of the facts it might appear that, in spite
of the great influence of the Emile in the latter part of the
Eighteenth Century, the idea of education as a national function,
with its chief end the making of loyal citizens, had altogether
eclipsed the complementary idea of education as a process of
individual development. But nothing could be farther from the
truth. The latter view was slower in passing out of theory into
practice; and it could scarcely have been otherwise. The adapta-
tion oŁ the educational system to the nature of the child which it